By Michael Weaver, Jr. [E-Mail | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Website | X | YouTube]

An American soldier visits the grave of a fallen soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
An American soldier visits the grave of a fallen soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Today is Veterans Day in America and it is a day where we celebrate the brave men and women who wore the different uniforms of the US Armed Forces.  Today, WU Online is proud to pay tribute to those men and women of the Army, the Marines, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard and the National Guard.  We thank each and every single individual who defended the United States of America whether they protected the country during wartime or during periods of peace.  There are 3.4 million service members and civilians with 4,800 sites in over 160 countries.

From the first war, which began in 1775 and was the American Revolutionary War to the Iraq War, which began in 2003, millions of brave Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the country that they love – the United States of America.

Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day and it was President Woodrow Wilson who proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day when he stated:

To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.

On May 13, 1938, the US Congress made November 11 a legal holiday called Armistice Day and stated it would be “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day'”.  Originally, Armistice Day was a day to honor the veterans of World War I but on June 1, 1954, the word “Armistice” was replaced with “Veterans” and November 11th, became Veterans Day – a day to honor ALL American veterans of ALL wars.

Sgt. Rick McMasters' basic training picture. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Rick McMasters)
Sgt. Rick McMasters’ basic training picture. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Rick McMasters)

“Veterans Day means to me just the honor of my brothers in arms who have came and went over the years,” said Sgt. Rick McMasters who served in the US Army from 1973 to 1998.  Sgt. McMasters was an Explosives Expert in the Vietnam War and a Fire Support Element (FSE) attached to the 82nd Airborn during the Gulf War.

Throughout time, civilians have taken the men and women in the US Armed Forces for granted.  We have taken our freedoms and liberty for granted.  We forget that these brave people literally went through hell to make sure that we can say, do, think, and feel whatever we want.  Sure, over the years when horrific acts like Pearl Harbor and 9/11 are thrust upon America, we put out our American flags and talk about how proud we are to be Americans but then after that we go back to living our normal lives with our internet, social media, different forms of entertainment, warm beds and great food while these brave men and women are overseas fighting in horrible elements, not knowing if they’re going to live or die, not being able to sleep in their warm beds, not eating great food and having the unfortunate experience of watching their fellow soldiers dying in front of them.

It makes me sick to my stomach that these people go through hell and are never the same again to make sure we continue living the great lives that we have but yet when they come back to civilian life in America, we don’t make sure that they still have a home to live in.  We don’t make sure that they have insurance and a steady income.  Plain and simple: we don’t make sure they’re okay.  America makes sure that we send aid to Ukraine, Israel and anyone else who needs help but what about our soldiers?  Before anyone else, we need to make sure that they get the aid that they need.  It’s time we have a government who will protect our soldiers just like the soldiers protect us.

An American soldier salutes the American flag.
An American soldier salutes the American flag.

So on this day – Veterans Day – make sure you thank a veteran for their service.  But then I challenge you to do something else.  I challenge you to thank a veteran for their service even if it’s NOT Veterans Day.  Because the look in their eyes when someone stops and takes the time to say “Thank you” when it’s not Veterans Day shows you how much they just want someone to take notice of what they went through.

To Sgt. Rick McMasters and all of the veterans reading this…thank you for your service.  Thank you for your sacrifices.  Thank you for your patriotism.  THANK YOU!

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